Improving Healthcare through smartphones

Below is a very very basic and rough draft of a idea me and selvam has been thinking about. We will start research and dedicated work on it after our end semester exams. IF you have any suggestion please help us out by commenting below. We would appreciate your help.

Problem:

  1. Travelling Cost : Poor Indian villagers spend most of their out-of-pocket health expenses on travel to the specialty hospitals in the city and for staying in the city along with their escorts.A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Public Opinion found that 89% of rural Indian patients have to travel about 8 km to access basic medical treatment, and the rest have to travel even farther.
  2. Village/Suburban Doctor : Generally the doctors in the villages and town are trainees who are inexperienced and ill-informed.They become professionally isolated and outdated if stationed in remote areas. The technological solutions are lacking reliability, user friendliness & most importantly governmental support.There are people who are affected by the fear of the unknown in handling computers and other equipment
  3. First Aid : The villagers are ill-informed about the first aid measures that should be taken in case of different emergencies.

Solution:

  1. Power of Smartphones :Leverage the features of smartphone to empower the village doctor
  2. Remote Consultancy Services : Provide the villagers with feature to video chat to expert physicians residing in cities at a nominal fee. Also avoiding the cost incurred in travel and saving the time lost in the commute.
  3. Information database : Smart apps which enable the trainee doctor get the best possible information about all the ailments and medicines through a legit database. Key to the acceptance of the app relies in the user friendliness of the interface.
  4. EHR: App which will help the doctor to keep track of his patients. Past treatment and diagnosis.
  5. Easy Localisation : The applications will provide all the information in the local languages.
  6. HCI : Touch based very interactive design which can be operated by villagers. Help women during pregnancy with alerts regarding regular checkups and tests.
  7. Cheaper Solution : A smartphone is cheaper than computer and easy to handle and maintain.

Scope & Limitations:

The use of mobile networks and smartohones in rural health has immense potential. Current solutions use of the existing 2G networks (which has penetrated the most) and sms based interface. Our approach differs from the fact that we are using interactive design and intuitive interface (along with the 2G network).This system is cheaper to implement as the smartphone devices are cheap but have immense power and capabilities. For example,consider a village of 100 families. The setup cost of the system will be around (Rs.30,000) i.e. 2 smart phones + 4 Akash devices + Misc. Total Population = 100 x 4 = 400 Setup Cost per person = 30,000/400 = Rs. 75. This is a feasible investment options to elevate the state of health-care in villages by manifolds. The only foreseable limitation is the acceptance of the technology by the rural people. We are planning to overcome this problem with the intuitive interface. Given that the benefits are too great to ignore we hope the rural people will embrace the system.

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